翘首以盼iPhone 5

翘首以盼iPhone 5

Philip Elmer-DeWitt 2011-04-15
关于iPhone 5的面世时间,可谓众说纷纭:从今年6月末到2012年年初都有人猜。发布时间有那么重要吗?答案是肯定的。
图片来源:Nowhere Else

    开春时,苹果迷们往往都在忙着猜测下一代iPhone会推出哪些新特性。上图是法国站点别无他处(Nowhere Else)制作的信息图形。该图对现存的几种猜想进行了精辟的总结。

    但是今年,有消息说,在将于6月份举行的苹果全球开发人员大会(Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference)上,不会推出iPhone5。此消息一出,人们的猜测也整个跟着变了。关注点不再是苹果到底会推出哪些新特性,而是新iPhone何时会问世。

    在本周二发给客户的文件中,Susquehanna公司的杰夫•费达卡罗表示,经过核实,“确认”iPhone5的发布将会推迟到今秋;美林公司(Merrill Lynch)的斯科特•克雷格则称,新iPhone的发布“不太可能”推迟;而Ticonderoga公司的布莱恩•怀特建议投资者们不要对准确的发布日期纠缠不休。怀特表示,即便苹果公司的销售额在一个季度内有所损失,也很可能会在接下来的季度里好转。


    按照上述理解,我们将有关iPhone 5发布的传闻按其出现时间进行排列,并且一一做了注解。

    2月11日和14日:《彭博商业周刊》(Bloomberg Businessweek )和《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal )分别报道,苹果将于“今夏”发布两款新iPhone:1)iPhone 4的后继产品;2)更为小巧、价格也相对便宜的iPhone。两篇报道推出的时间恰到好处,就像枚炸弹,扰乱了彼时正于巴塞罗那举行的世界移动通信大会(Mobile World Congress)。而苹果并未参加此次大会。可信度:中等。

    3月28日: The Loop的吉姆•道里姆波尔曾是Macworld杂志的新闻编辑,在苹果公司拥有可靠的消息来源。他撰文表示,苹果全球开发人员大会的主题演讲安排在6月6日进行,届时该公司不会发布任何硬件产品。自2007年起,所有新iPhone每年都是在该盛会上推出的。可信度:高。


    4月4日:韩国站点ETNews.co.kr称,据MacRumors消息,苹果已“确认”将于6月的第四周发布iPhone 5。不过道里姆波尔的线人称该报导“完全错误”。可信度:低。

    4月8日:Ticonderoga公司的布莱恩•怀特从远东发回报告,对其客户表示,对于iPhone 5将于今秋发布的说法,他越来越心存疑虑。他表示,尽管手中并无确凿的证据,但是对苹果“供应链内部运营活动模式”的了解,使他对广为流传的iPhone 5发布推迟的说法产生了质疑。他分析说,苹果很可能将iPhone 5牌“深藏不露”,以避免6月之前iPhone 4的销量出现下降。可信度:中等。

    4月11日:我们对波士顿的市场研究机构Avian Securities并不熟悉。该公司在一份未签名的报告中对其客户表示,iPhone 5将于9月开始投产,这与iPhone 5将推迟到秋天发布的说法相一致,但该公司并未如此表示。相反,它改变话题说,《商业周刊》和《华尔街日报》分别于2月的报道中提到的小型iPhone的技术参数尚未出台,这意味着“iPhone 5将于2011年末或者更可能是2012年才能正式上市。” Avian Securities的报告中有几处将《商业周刊》和《华尔街日报》的报道揉到了一起,并建议说,iPhone 5很可能会推迟到明年发布。苹果股票会再度遭受重创。可信度:低。

    吉姆•道里姆波尔是这一切的始作俑者。我们问他相信哪个说法。“肯定不会于6月上市,所以这个说法肯定错了。”他表示:“我认为iPhone 5会在今年圣诞假期购物季之前上市。”



    In early spring the folks who obsess about Apple (AAPL) are usually busy speculating about what features to expect in the next iteration of the iPhone -- a game neatly summarized in an infographic produced by the French site Nowhere Else, from which the image at right was taken.

    But this year, reports that there will be no iPhone 5 announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June has launched a whole new level of speculation, not about what Apple is building, but when it will arrive.

    In notes issued to clients Tuesday, Susquehanna's Jeff Fidacaro said his checks "confirm" a delay until fall, Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig pronounced the delay "not likely," and Ticonderoga's Brian White advised investors not to get "hung up" on the exact date. Any sales Apple misses in one quarter, White says, are likely to get picked up the next.

    Perhaps. But with a pack of Google (GOOG) Android phones breathing down its neck, Apple can't wait forever.

    With that in mind, we've put together an annotated timeline of the iPhone 5 launch rumors. See below the fold.

    • Feb. 11, 14: Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal separately report that Apple is preparing two new iPhones: 1) a successor to the iPhone 4 and 2) a smaller, cheaper iPhone for release "this summer." The reports are perfectly timed to disrupt the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which Apple did not attend. Credibility: medium.

    • March 28: The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, a former Macworld news editor with good Apple sources, reports that the company has "closed the door" on any hardware announcements at the June 6 WWDC keynote, which is where new iPhones have been announced every year since 2007. Credibility: high.

    • March 30: Two Wall Street analysts warn clients that summer may come and go without a new iPhone; Apple shares takes a hit. Dalrymple clarifies privately that his sources did not rule out an iPhone announcement in another venue besides WWDC. Credibility: medium.

    • April 4: A Korean website, ETNews.co.kr, claims that Apple has "confirmed" that the iPhone 5 will be released the fourth week of June, according to MacRumors. Dalrymple's sources shoot down the report as "completely false." Credibility: low.

    • April 8: Ticonderoga's Brian White, reporting from the Far East, tells clients he is becoming increasingly suspicious of reports of a fall launch. He doesn't have a smoking gun, but says there is a "pattern of activity in motion within the supply chain" that makes him question the widely reported delay. Apple may be keeping its iPhone 5 cards "extra close to the vest," he suggests, to avoid a fall-off of iPhone 4 sales as June approaches. Credibility: medium.

    • April 11: An unsigned report from Avian Securities, a Boston-based firm we're not familiar with, tells clients that that production for the iPhone 5 will begin in September -- consistent with a fall launch, although Avian doesn't say so. Instead, it changes the subject and reports that specs for the smaller iPhone that the Journal and Businessweek were writing about in February still haven't arrived, which suggests "a very late 2011 or more likely a 2012 event." Several accounts of the Avian note conflate the two reports and suggest that the iPhone 5 might be pushed back to next year. Apple shares take another hit. Credibility: low.

    We asked Jim Dalrymple -- who started this all -- where he would put his money. "It's definitely not coming in June, so that's out," he says. "I think we'll see it before the holiday shopping season."

    That sounds like a good bet.